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Electronic Nose Detects Cancer in Human Poo

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A Dutch eNose seperates colorectal cancer from adenomas and controls.

colorectal cancer, adenoma, detect, eNose, electronic nose, early stage, researchPerhaps it is will to be the future’s way of detecting colorectal cancer in an early stage: sniffing poo with an electronic nose. The medical centre of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam succesfully tested their new device and published the results yesterday in the International Journal of Cancer.

The researchers took stool samples of 40 patients with colorectal cancer, 60 patients with advanced adenomas, and 57 healthy controls and found that their so called fecal volatile organic compounds (VOC) profiles differed significantly. The eNose could even seperate adenoma’s from colorectal cancer.

After serving to detect chemical weapons and rotten food eNoses are now carefully entering the medical world. Earlier research with the device, for example,  offered hope for detecting other forms of cancer in human breath. Trained dogs have also been proven to be of help here.

The eNose is called a nose because, just like our noses, it can recognize molecules in the air. It doesn’t yet sniff, however. The researchers had to warm up the poo and guide the fragrances through the eNose.

Photo: Flickr, Leonard John Matthews
Source: VUmc,

de Meij TG, Larbi IB, van der Schee MP, Lentferink YE, Paff T, Terhaar Sive Droste JS, Mulder CJ, van Bodegraven AA, & de Boer NK (2013). Electronic nose can discriminate colorectal carcinoma and advanced adenomas by fecal volatile biomarker analysis: proof of principle study. International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer PMID: 23959518

colorectal cancer, adenoma, detect, eNose, electronic nose, early stage, research

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